Thursday, November 11, 2010

Choose to laugh....

I wrote this within about a month after Duane left us: “Many of Duane’s friends wrote letters, poems and spoke tributes to him during the days we were mourning his loss. We honored the friends’ requests by leaving their written messages and expressions of love with him, but their words have created in me a desire to assemble a collection of memories that could be put in a binder or booklet. I would call this “A Tribute to Duane” or perhaps “Moments with Duane” so that his family and friends could know how much he meant to others. It would be a keepsake that we would treasure forever, a book of remembrances. I can even envision including these in a binder with all of his drawings.

Many of you asked us to let you know what you could do for us, so this is what we are asking: Please write down any special memories that you have of Duane or anything you would like to say to him or us and send them to us. Too often, we do not comprehend the specialness of those who have been loaned to us by God, and this will help us know of the impact he had on your life, or of the memories that you have of him.”

I’m going to start sharing some of those memories I’ve collected with you, the readers of this “Tribute to Duane” blog. This first one came from Duane’s cousin, our nephew, Joe Hunt:

“I want to first let you know we have been praying for you both. Duane’s death has been difficult to cope with and understand, but to know we will someday be with him again for eternity is comfort that only we as believers in Christ enjoy. I wanted to share a memory I have of Duane for your book.

(Note: I think Duane was probably five or six in this story, not seven or eight as Joe says.... they were 12 years older than Duane, so if they were in high school, he had probably just started school.)    

One day Chris and I (probably when Chris was watching Duane) took Duane for a ride in an International Scout I was driving at the time. Duane was seven or eight and we were in high school. Off we went, and our first stop was the Crooked Creek Road state shed. We thought we would try driving the Scout up a sand pile. As we attempted this silly stunt, Duane was laughing away in the back seat. Just as we started up the pile and the sky came into view through the windshield, it stalled and we rolled backward until the rear bumper stopped us when it hit the ground. Duane was still laughing away and Chris and I had joined in laughing. Well, to get the truck unstuck, we rocked the vehicle back and forth, and Duane continued to laugh and giggle away. We finally got unstuck and Duane finally stopped laughing. He really had a good time that day hanging out with his older brother and cousin. We really enjoyed being with him on that day as well. Duane’s untimely death has reinforced in me the importance of today and what we do with it. The importance of our faith in God, cherishing time spent with family, and staying busy doing the things we enjoy most with those close to us.”

Thanks for sharing that story, Joe.  I can just hear Duane giggling and then you two laughing heartily.  That was excellent closing advice, too.  I like to say, "Live with no regrets."

(Here's Joe and Chris at about the age they were at the time of this little caper!)

Is there anything that can give you more joy than the sound of a child’s laugh?  You just can't resist laughing when you hear a baby or young child laugh.  I love the sound of it.  That sound is one of the highlights of my days when I babysit our grandchildren. Laughter is so good for the soul.

Unfortunately, I sometimes feel as though it doesn’t come easily for me. I often think that if there was one word to describe me, it just might be “melancholy.” I do believe, though, that when I realize I am feeling blue, I can choose to change that.  To quote a popular TV speaker, Joyce Meyer, I can "think about what I'm thinking about."  I can deliberately find a funny movie to watch.  I can determine to focus on the good things in life.  I can choose to, as my Sunday School teachers taught me, count my blessings. November is an appropriate month to focus on thanksgiving and counting our blessings. Not only do I believe it’s important to do that, but I believe it is to my detriment if I do not choose to be thankful and instead choose to focus on that which makes me feel melancholy.

"A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing,
but a broken spirit dries the bones."  Prov. 17:22, AMP

If I want to be well and healthy and strong, I must develop and maintain a happy heart and a cheerful mind.  I can choose whether to focus on the people who will not be at the family table for Thanksgiving, and the things in life that didn't turn out the way I wanted, or to be thankful for the hard-working faithful husband that I have had for 43 years, our remarkable sons and their lovely wives and our four delightful grandchildren, our warm and sturdy home, and remember that Duane is still with us and always will be, though in a different way than before. I could make a very, very long list of all the things for which I can be thankful.

"All the days of the desponding afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and foreboding], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast
[regardless of circumstances]."  Prov. 15:15, AMP.

I choose not to have anxious thoughts.  I choose to laugh and have a glad heart! I choose a continual feast!  (I think I can hear Duane saying, "Yay, Mom - you got it!")

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely awesome Sis! I do remember Joe telling this story about the "stone mountain stunt" and the way Duane laughed and giggled. It's a wonderful memory. You are so right about choosing to think correctly, with a heart full of praise. You know that saying "you are what you eat," well, in many ways, we are what we think. And laughing is such a good tool to keep our thoughts in a joyful and peaceful place where no melancholy can penetrate. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8
    Love you, Sis